Spotlight on Alison Scott

Alison Scott will release her new album

Photo Courtesy of Darin Back

Alison Scott will release her new album “Stone Cold Love” in August.

Jackie Renzetti

As a McNally Smith College of Music 2005 graduate, Alison Scott entered a singer-songwriting competition and unwittingly kicked off the rest of her music career. 
 
Since winning the contest ten years ago, Scott has released four albums and performed in venues throughout the Twin Cities — such as the Dakota Jazz Club and the Fine Line Music Cafe. In August, she and her band will release their third original album, “Stone Cold Love,” and this Saturday, the band performs at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. 
 
As a prize for the 2005 contest, Scott was able to produce an album, which she decided to record with current producer and guitarist Kevin Bowe, a judge at the contest. The two have worked together ever since.
 
“During the process of making her first record I realized she had what I thought it takes,” Bowe said. “The first thing that grabs you is the voice, but the second thing is the unbelievably great songwriting … and the third thing was that she’s not afraid of hard work,” Bowe said. 
 
After some rotation in the rhythm section, the rest of the band lineup solidified with drummer Peter Anderson, bassist Steve Price and keyboardist Charlie Peterson. In 2013, Price left to support the Suburbs’ reappearance, and bassist Justin Rieken joined. 
 
Scott’s first album release doubled as her first solo show. 
 
“That was terrifying because I hadn’t really played any shows at all. There were 500 people at the Varsity — I think I had to go on emotional autopilot to survive or something,” Scott said. 
 
Since then, Scott has built a solid fan base and has landed gigs throughout Minnesota — including an opening spot for Bon Jovi — and toured the country.
 
Anderson credited her breakthrough to their first gig at the Dakota Jazz Club. The band has since played 15 consecutive sold out shows at the Dakota Jazz Club. 
 
Bowe said Scott’s work ethic has allowed the band to succeed. He recalled a time when the Varsity Theater called him about poor ticket sales for their upcoming show. 
 
“I called Ally [Scott] and said, you’ve got to poster Dinkytown and West Bank for this show, and it was a blizzard. And she goes, ‘Okay,’” Bowe said. “She calls me back three hours later and was like, ‘What’s next?’ and I was like, ‘You’re crazy.’”  
 
The upcoming release marks Scott’s third original album and first release since 2010, but the band also released holiday records and a covers record in the meantime. 
 
Scott’s soulful style has been her trademark, but she said her next album dabbles with pop influences. As Scott watched pop music entertain her toddler, she said she began to give the genre a chance. 
 
“I think my beef with pop over the last ten years has been the lack of care when it comes to the song. … I just could never get behind the material,” Scott said. “I put on Sia, and she [Scott’s daughter] sings along, she dances, so I think I’ve been listening to a lot more Sia than I think I would have otherwise, and I have grown to love a lot of pop music because of that,” Scott said. 
 
She channels pop artist Sia in one of the tracks. In addition to experimenting with pop, the band also features a bossa nova track on the new album. 
 
Scott said she also touches on different subject matter than previous albums, including heavy topics such as domestic abuse and addiction.
 
“But we also have songs about meteor showers and honeybees,” she said. 
 
Scott said she admires songwriters with authentic lyrics and delivery and strives to do the same with her work.
 
“I just don’t see the point otherwise. If people aren’t going to believe what you’re saying, then they’re not going to listen to it,” Scott said. “I think I just try to write about things that maybe I can put myself in somebody else’s shoes.”